I have been in Korea many times, but last week was also the first time my parents were in Korea. talking to Suna we had trouble finding the right things to do because there was so much we want to show them. So we made a tight schedule around our wedding and showed them as much as we could. The first days were in Daejeon and we went to Seoul. While staying in Daejeon, we climbed mountain Daedunsan. I have climbed this mountain before in 2008 but this time we took the cable car half way up. Even though it was a day activity for the two families. Surprise was that when we reached the top, we met two Germans also in Korea for a wedding. We had a Kimbab lunch on the top while aunt made some music on her harmonica.
Furthermore many great dinners during the week, starting with a duck barbecue, a grand dinner (bibimbab) at the house of my wife’s family and picnics (kimchichike) along the area’s we visited. Of course, there was also a lot of drinking involved. And speaking, during dinner Koreans really like to stand up and speech, for me it is nothing new but I saw that speeching capabilities of my family increase every day.
We saw some traditional Korean kimchi making and visited Temple or two, it was quite exciting for my aunt and uncle who never went to Asia before.
Then we went to Seoul, Seoul is more my town so I took basically took my whole family down the memory lane of Korean vodka and shopping streets. We went up the highest buildings and took a cruise over the han River. I think the best part was that our hotel, the Hyundai residence, had a rooftop terrace, so we finally got to sit down with wine and talk about what happened in the last few days.
Finally, we went to Dragon spa where I showed my parents the Korean Sauna culture. I think they like the outdoor swimming pool and I got to drink drink Korean rice (chike) drinks with my wife in the sauna. I got to spend some time with my sister, later in the evening I talked a lot with my uncle. It was a nice ending of the week the next day we had to get up at 5:30 so we went to bed early. When we got up at 5:30, we packed like crazy and went into the taxi we called in advance. We had to go to Incheon airport to drop my family off to go to the Netherlands before we were going to Gimpo airport for our own trip to China. It’s about one hour drive, so we would be there on time. Unfortunately, when we were out of the city and just on the highway, our taxi driver hit a piece of wood on the road and our tire blew! We were on the left lane and he had trouble maneuvering us safely past the trucks to the right side of the road and to a complete stop on the side. There we were, on the highway and barely visible because we were standing just after a corner, in the dark, without a Korean cellphone. Great start of the day isn’t it? The taxi driver told us it would be a repair truck coming to lift the van, instead of sitting in a car we decide to stand outside behind the safer guardrail, basically counting the minutes till another truck would slam against our taxi, we waited in the cold but with patience. Unfortunately when the truck driver arrived he thought the situation was too dangerous to do anything. In the end the (poor) driver fixed the tire by himself –if he told us before he had the tools to do it we didn’t had to wait all the time, but anyway… – we were on the road again, just in time for my family to catch the plane. Because our flight was later that day, Suna and I went to Seoul again, so we spend our day shopping at Myong Dong and eating famous Korean bone soup. (sulontang) arriving back in Shanghai we look back at a great but tiring week.